Increase in Hikers, Bicyclists Leads to Frequent Emergency Trial Rescues at Regional Parks

Four times over the course the last four days, Oakland Fire Department's Gator 21 utility terrain vehicle was deployed for trail rescues in the Oakland hills, a fire department spokesman said.

Sunday morning, a woman hiking in Redwood Regional Park with her family experienced a medical emergency, said Oakland Fire Captain Brian Oftedal. She was unable to walk out of the park herself, so her family called for help around 10 a.m., he said.

An Oakland Fire EMT and paramedic took the UTV to reach the hiker, who was assessed and treated on site and then transported back to the road on the UTV. The hiker was then taken to an area hospital via ambulance, Oftedal said.

Saturday morning, a bicyclist who was trail riding with a group of friends on Big Trees Trail in Redwood Regional Park lost control and crashed, Oftedal said.

The mountain bikers called for help around 10:54 a.m. The bicyclist suffered from musculoskeletal injuries and had to be rescued with the UTV. Thursday and Friday, two more incidents required Gator 21 rescues, Oftedal said.

Now that the weather is nice and people are going out to the parks, these requests are happening regularly, he said.

"I recommend that you get out early, stay hydrated and stay at least in pairs so someone can call for help if needed," Oftedal said.

He also said hikers should remember the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, and they should social distance and wear masks when passing other groups of hikers.

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